Summary: Maybe you have unforgiveness against someone in your heart. Forgiveness is a problem in the Christian life because it is so hard to do. It is one of the most difficult things to do, yet one of the most needed.
Overcoming The Problem Of Forgiveness
1. Forgiveness is a problem in the Christian life because it is so hard to do. It is one of the most difficult things to do, yet one of the most needed.
2. In this lesson, we will examine two portions of Scripture:
• 2 Corinthians 2:6-11 – In this passage, the apostle Paul is encouraging the church at Corinth to forgive a young man who had repented after committing the sin of fornication.
• Genesis 50:15-21 – In this passage, Joseph forgives his eleven brothers who had plotted against him, sold him into slavery, and then lied to their father to cover up their sin.
3. Maybe you have unforgiveness against someone in your heart tonight. You’re thinking, “I don’t care what he says, I’m not ready to forgive.” Maybe not, but at least listen with an open mind and allow this Bible study to work like a gentle rain, softening your heart towards biblical forgiveness.
Why is forgiveness such an important issue for the believer?
1. Because unforgiveness allows Satan to gain ground in our lives. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11
• Satan is the epitome of an angry, bitter, unforgiving person. When we refuse to forgive, he takes advantage of this. He exploits it in our lives.
• Verse 11 states that we are not “ignorant of his devices.” A device means “a purpose.” His purpose is to bring bondage in our lives. When we refuse to forgive, we are handing him the rope and saying, “Tie me up. Bring me into bondage.”
• God deals in freedom and liberty. Satan deals with bondage. When we refuse to forgive, he uses this to produce bondage in our lives. Most of the ground Satan gains in our lives is due to unforgiveness.
2. Because unforgiveness can destroy the person that we refuse to forgive. 2 Corinthians 2:7-8
• Paul is saying, “You are going to discourage and destroy that young man, and he is going to drown in sorrow because of your unforgiveness.” There are people in this condition today.
• It could be that they can’t get over the fact that they hurt you and they are hungry for your forgiveness, comfort, and love.
• When verse 7 mentions “comfort,” it means “to call near; invite; invoke.” It is the idea of putting your arms around them and saying, “I know you didn’t mean it, and even if you did, I forgive you.”
• Illustration: Joseph (Genesis 45:1-5, 14-15)
3. Because unforgiveness hinders the entire body of Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:9
• The matter of unforgiveness was hindering the entire church. When we refuse to forgive, we don’t just harm ourselves. The Bible likens the church to a body (1 Corinthians 12:27). Some members are an ear, or a mouth, a foot, a leg, an arm, etc.
• When you, as a member of the body, get angry and hold a grudge against another member, it hinders the whole body from working effectively.